Category Archives: Kate Baker

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

The sun has gone to bed and so must I.

I’ll try to make this as short and as sweet as I can as I return the keys to John.

Thank you. To all of you for making me feel at home for the short time I was here. It was an honor to meet and interact with some of the best and brightest the interweebs has to offer.

Thank you to Mykal, Mary, Nora and John (and Brandon) for wonderful guest posts during my stay.It was truly amazing to be surrounded by such esteemed company.

Lastly, a thank you to John for entrusting me with such a huge and humbling responsibility. I had an absolute blast.

Goodnight.

I Remember

I remember laughing in my blue Saturn at NPR as they discussed Bushisms. I remember carrying my infant daughter up the stairs to our house. I remember sitting on my couch, opening the bag of donuts. I remember turning on my TV to the Today Show.

At first it was awe. At first it was confusion. At first it was an accident.

Matt Lauer interviewed a woman who described the first tower. The first plane. The first fire.

Then the second hit. Live on TV. Live in front of the world.

Confusion turned to fear, anxiety and determination.

I left the uneaten donuts, the live TV, scooped up my daughter and raced back to the school to get my son. Never noticing how blue and beautiful the sky was that day.

The sky is beautiful and blue today and I remember.

To all those who were lost 9 years ago, to those who have served us and protected, to those who raced in when lower Manhattan was covered in ash, I remember you.

How could I ever forget?

To those who’ve preached tolerance amidst fear and misinformation, to those who’ve started to rebuild, to those who’ve carried on despite their losses, I thank you.

How could I not?

It is more than a moment of silence. It is a lifetime of memory and slowly healing wounds. It is a day for every American, every citizen of the world, every human to reflect on an event that will never be forgotten.

How could we?

They Blew Up My Little Pony, Mommy!

You know you are losing the imaginary war when a toy pony brings law enforcement to their knees.

The bomb squad sent a robot to investigate the toy pony.

Robot: Dude, are you a bomb?

Pony: No, my forgetful human left me here when the bell rang. She even left the brush she uses to comb my glittery tail. See, glitter. I look fabulous! She’s coming back, right?

Robot: Sucks to be you, man.

Pony: Why is that?

Robot: My “all clear” sensor was sent in for repair yesterday.

—–

Some little girl is weeping now in Orlando. Can’t you hear her pitiful cries?

The Awesome Side of SF Fandom

My time at Dragon*Con really opened my eyes to how dedicated and loyal some fans can be.

Here we have Amy Pond and the 11th incarnation of the Doctor. I saw fans who loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Final Fantasy, Borderlands, Halo and many others. Some were simple costumes and some went all out on the pageantry.

An incredible example of dedication is this one man’s quest to reforge a lightsaber.

So have you ever done anything as elaborate in a quest to be the ultimate fan?

Free Fiction & An Open Pimp Thread

Because free is awesome, I wanted to share some free fiction links with you as I fly over the mid-Atlantic on my way down to DragonCon.

Clarkesworld Magazine just came out with a new issue on September 1st. Along with the beautiful cover, there are stories by Robert Reed and Stephen Gaskell. Non-fictions brought to you by Bill Spangler and Jeremy L.C. Jones. As always, you can hear me podcasting the first story of the month. The second audio will be ready for download on September 15th.

Also, John Joseph Adams is looking for braaaaaiiinnnnssss. The new website celebrating the The Living Dead 2 has eight stores in their entirety and are available both as regular web pages and in a downloadable ebook sampler (currently available in epub and pdf format, with additional formats forthcoming from the Baen Webscriptions store).

There will also be 36 different author interviews with the contributors. They’re scheduled to appear daily, starting on August 30th, with the final one scheduled to run on Oct. 4. And last, but not least, you can also read the introduction and the header notes to each story in the anthology. (Okay, maybe that IS least!)

The anthology all-new, original stories by zombie masters Robert Kirkman, Max Brooks, David Wellington, Brian Keene, Jonathan Maberry, Carrie Ryan, John Skipp, and Mira Grant, for a grand total of FORTY-FOUR STORIES. This includes a mix of originals (27) and reprints (17) (none of which have ever appeared in a zombie anthology before).

The free stories, which you can find here, are:
The Skull-Faced City — David Barr Kirtley
And the Next, and the Next — Genevieve Valentine
Flotsam & Jetsam — Carrie Ryan
Mouja — Matt London
Who We Used to Be — David Moody
The Days of Flaming Motorcycles — Catherynne M. Valente
Obedience — Brenna Yovanoff
Rural Dead — Bret Hammond

So now that I’ve totally worn that pimp hat (John has totally got to wash that thing now when he returns). I’m passing it along to you. We haven’t had a great pimp thread in awhile. So what do you have to show me? Feel free to pimp friends, media that you love, books you’ve read, anything, really. Just keep in mind that more than two links will probably put you into moderation. I will get you out of that prison, but it might be later in the day.

Pimp away!

Playlist Confessions

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to DragonCon, I had to update my iPod’s playlist for traveling. As I searched the almost 40GB of music, I cringed. I don’t remember adding the entire Spice Girls album to my collection or “Ice Ice Baby”. In an effort to cull the list to prevent embarrassment, I found others like:

  • Quad City DJs – “Space Jam”
  • McHammer – “Hammertime”
  • Extreme – “More than Words”

I’m sure there are more in there that I haven’t found.

Granted, I have no idea why I am now singing each of these songs. I guess I’ll just file them away in the “guilty pleasures” file.

So tell me, I dare you, what do you have on that player that you don’t want anyone to know about? Come on, I won’t tell anyone. I promise

Your Plan for the Zombie Apocalypse

So I was sitting in a Cracker Barrel restaurant a few weeks ago and instead of being involved in the conversation, I was lost in thought. Glancing at all the old and wickedly dangerous kitsch surrounding us on the walls, my musing turned into dreams of survival. I blurted out, “You know, this structure would be a pretty great place to make a last stand in the impending zombie apocalypse!” My dining companions were suddenly very confused.

“No really, you could totally use that scythe over there to decapitate.”

“We’re trying to eat here, Kate.”

“But, it would be awesome, think about it! That ax, that baseball bat, that plow, hockey sticks, kayak. It’s probably filled with industrial size cans of food. It’s got indoor facilities, clothes and tons of retro candy!”

“Really? We’re having this discuss…”

“Also, table checkers!”

—-

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I would meet my doom.

So you have to help me out here! What are your plans for the impending zombie hordes? I can’t be the only one who is anxious enough to plan while out with family. Right?

Right?

Hello?
Brrrraaaaiiiinnnnsssss…

The Coolest Thing You’ll See Today

(If you haven’t seen it already, that is.)

You can either watch it here on the Whatever, or click on the video for higher resolution and explanation. I stumbled upon it during lunch and have watched it a few times. Students of the visual arts continue to amaze me. The rendering and editing of this video took a gentleman by the name of Alexander Lehmann three years to complete. It’s well worth your few minutes especially if you are SF and/or disaster film addict like I am. (Don’t ask.)

The music is pretty awesome D&B too!

Things Weren’t Really That Different When I Was A Kid

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved going to the movies. The first film that I remember was ET at a now defunct drive-in. (Damn, I really miss those.) Then multiplexes were popping up everywhere. While we would pay for the ticket into the theater, I never understood why my parents thought it necessary to pop corn at home and stow it under  big winter coats or in my mother’s large purse. I always resented the fact that I couldn’t have that over-salted, yellow monstrosity in an overpriced bucket. We weren’t trying to be obnoxious, that stuff was just as expensive even back then.

We’d do the same with other snacks as well. Hitting the local RX Place next to the cinema, we’d hide cheap cans of soda and candy within our pockets only to get nervous as we approached the overzealous ticket warrior.

He only caught us a few times, when the smell of burned kernels wafted up through our clothes or my when my little brother asked when we could have the sweets we just bought at the “other place”.

I remember being mortified. But now, as an adult with small children, I realize something. (This will happen a lot when the child becomes the parent.) My mom and dad were pretty smart. They “skimped” on those luxuries because we couldn’t really afford them and by doing so, with the money we saved, we went to more movies. If we really liked a certain film, sometimes we got to see it a few times if all the bills were paid and food was in the refrigerator.

As I got older and got a job of my own, I continued to follow that unspoken advice borne out of necessity. Granted, there are times where I don’t bring anything on which to munch, but I have been known to hide those Red Vines purchased at a much lower price in an overly large winter coat, or in a purse.

And you know what I do with the money I save? I  go to more movies.

As theaters continue to squeeze dime and dollar out of already struggling families with rising ticket and concession costs, perhaps they could take a lesson from my parents. I do believe there will be a breaking point. Either when the public is sick of paying to watch commercials at the beginning of their movies, or they just stop going all together because it’s cost prohibitive.

As for the popcorn, I never did get used to the taste. Anytime I decide to splurge with either friends or my own children, I always end up with a stomach ache and a much lighter wallet.

But I’m sure that James Cameron and the studios appreciate the fact that I went to see Titanic seven times and have seen other films numerous times as well.

And no, for the last time, I don’t want a large for just 25 cents more.

Video Game Neuroses

Allow me to take you on a journey of my little quirks which only present themselves while behind a computer screen.

During my World of Warcraft days, it took effort not to refer to myself in the third person.

“Kate waves hello.”

“Kate would like a slice of pizza.”

When you emoted in game as much as I did, the language of the game wanted to rewrite my thirty years of proper communication. Luckily, it didn’t happen very often.

Then came the Battlefield series of games. No flag pole in my town was safe from the thought that I must first change the colors and defend it with my life. It was only when the Old Glory was in my rear-view mirror that I snapped back into reality.

Then came the incredibly lucid dreams from which I could not wake. Instead of experiencing any game with a buffer of keyboard and screen, my horrifically calculating subconscious placed me in the stories. There I was, decapitating zombies with the pull of shotgun trigger or wiping Boomer bile off my clothes. Other dreams included following behind a heavy from Team Fortress 2 and hitting invincibility with my medic gun, only to be stabbed in the back by a spy or set on fire by a fire happy pyro. “You did well!”

Borderlands presented a different crazy; chests. No, not the pretty bosoms of Lilith or Mad Moxxi. I had to open every single locker, washing machine, lunch box, toilet and treasure box the game put in front of me. Conversations like this were common fare when playing co-op with friends:

“Where’s Kate?”

“Uh, I don’t know, she was here a minute ago. We gonna fight this monster or what?”

“Oh sorry guys,  I was trying to get to that red chest up on the ledge. I sorta fell.”

Mass Effect and the sequel presented a clear case of OCD with planet visits and scanning for resources. I pretty much strip-mined every planet that I came across. There were moments where I felt guilty, wondering if I’d get a message across my screen that the citizens of a raped world were coming after my ass, but alas, there was no penalty in the game for being greedy.

Kate will not speak about Torchlight though. (Dammit!) That game just enables treasure compulsion on so many levels. There is an actual achievement for breaking as many barrels you can.

I hate you video game developers.

So tell me I’m not alone in my video game neuroses. Have you ever experienced anything similar? Has any game left you frustrated that you didn’t complete all the available quests? Do you feel compelled to play through a game more than once?

The Doctor is in.

My Dice, Let Me Show You Them

Let me show you my dice.

As you can see, by this really cool photograph that I took while playing the Star Wars RPG, mine are a fuchsia, glittery color. Hey, I left you enough hints despite it being a black and white photo!

Every month or so, a few friends and I get on a webcam and Ventrilo and attempt to role play in the Lucas universe. (Man, that totally didn’t sound as geeky in my head as it did when I typed it out.)

I know from hanging around here at the Whatever that a lot of the readers are gamers. So I have to ask, what color are your dice and more importantly, what do you play with them?

Btw – Hi, I’m Kate and I’m a geek.

P.S. See that natural 20? That’s all I roll.